Who Will Lead the Field in the Race Toward Our Green Future?

by Green Jobs Ready on May 26, 2010

It’s kind of an odd analogy for an alternative energy oriented blog, but I want to share with you an image from an audio book I was listening to the other day, Earl Nightingale’s Lead the Field. You’ll see why in a minute.

The image is of a man sitting, shivering, in front of a fireplace waiting for warmth to radiate from it ~ before he puts any wood in or builds a fire.

Ridiculous, isn’t it?

What tickles me most about this image is that it’s a perfect metaphor for all those people who want to see the benefits of implementing a law like California’s AB 32 before they’re willing to put in the work to reap those benefits. This is the “wait and see” contingent, willing to follow someone else’s lead, but not take the chance themselves.

To be fair, these people have honest fears and concerns about the impact that taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will have on their lives and livelihoods.

Unfortunately, while their fears are honest, the information those fears are based on is not ~ it is, instead, composed of distorted “facts,” half-truths, and out-and-out lies perpetrated by those with a vested interest in our continued reliance on fossil fuels ~ entities like Valero Energy Corp and Tesoro Corp, the out-of-state oil companies behind the move to delay implementation of California’s AB 32.

Hey, it worked for Enron, right? Remember the rolling blackouts in California? Those were because of “energy shortages” that were lies made up of whole cloth. Don’t take my word for it ~ go watch the documentary movie Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.

No wonder ordinary people and small businesses and so on want to let someone else “do it first.” Trouble is, just as Enron’s story illustrates that we can’t always believe what we’re told, we also can’t afford to wait and see.

According to an analysis of the “Economic Impact of AB 32 on California Small Business” published by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the costs of implementation are miniscule. For instance, the restaurant they used as a real-world example “could completely absorb the small increase in energy costs related to AB 32 by raising the price of a $20 meal less than three cents in 2020.”

On the other hand, according to the same study, “if global warming is allowed to continue unchecked, it is expected to cost the United States hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century.”

I’m sure you take my point about the cost of a wait and see attitude.

Besides, that’s not what we do in this country.

As Governor Arnold Swarzenagger pointed out at U.C. Davis recently:

“It’s incomprehensible that you go and say the others should do it first. China should do it first, Russia or Africa or Europe, they should do it first. Since when have we said that? What happened to the leadership when it comes to human rights issues? We didn’t go and say, let China go first. It would be absurd. (Laughter) When we went for the race to the moon, we didn’t say, oh, let Russia go first. Let’s see what they do. (Laughter) When it came to the developing of the internet and the computer, we didn’t say, oh, let’s have maybe Africa go first, or the Middle East go first. Let’s wait for them.

No, we went. On all of those things we went first. We showed leadership. And this is why it is also so important for the United States to show leadership in our energy policy and environmental policy.”

All those indications of (laughter) from the audience weren’t scripted, you know ~ there was no teleprompter flashing the words “laughter” or “applause” (of which he also got plenty). People laughed because he’s right ~ the idea that we should lay back and let someone else lead is ludicrous.

Something else the governor said: “First you set the goal and then you figure out how to get there.”

Right again.

AB 32 outlines California’s goal, and other states have passed laws or resolutions that outline similar goals. As for figuring out how to get there, the internet is a good place to start.

Small business owners and private citizens who wants to do their part to achieve the goal, enter the words AB 32 into a search engine. You’ll be amazed at all the information and “how-to” articles it comes up with.

Those of you who want to work in an actual green industry ~ you’re already in the right place. Just click GreenJobsReady.com, here or at the top of this page. You’ll find what you’re looking for there.

But don’t take my, or anyone else’s, word for it ~ check it out for yourself. That’s the only way we ever really know anything.

Who will lead the field? ~ Why not you?

See you on the green ~


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